Brixton in South London is a hotbed of creativity, pop-ups and super-cool markets at the moment, so it was a pleasure to chat to the lovely team at design store Turpentine on Coldharbour Lane. Alongside a great selection of designer-makers (including Alfred & Wilde prints, mugs and cards), the shop also hosts regular workshops, courses and classes. Check out the Turpentine website for more information.
Turpentine was set up by owners Amber Rogers, Alice Waters and Judith de Berker, and Amber answered our questions below.
The very cool interior of Turpentine, Brixton
How did the shop start?
Way back in 2011, we realised the three of us had a shared dream of one day starting our own business as well as a real need to reconnect with our creative roots. From there we started putting on pop-up markets in Brixton in our spare time. We met a fantastic community of artists and makers and really enjoyed working together so there was no going back, we just had to open a store. We opened 18 months ago and haven’t looked back since!
How would you describe your shop and the range that you stock? What is your style?
We're passionate about supporting young designers and brands and are always on the lookout for new
products to showcase. Everything we stock is carefully curated as we want to create a distinctive feel for the Turpentine. Creativity and quality are really important to us and our aim is to build an offering of fun, accessible, bright, and affordable products. We have quite a graphic style, and we pride ourselves on having a unisex appeal.
The Turpentine on Coldharbour Lane
Who is your typical customer?
One of the great things about being based in Brixton is the diversity of the place and that’s defiantly reflected in our customers. It makes the shop a really interesting place to work as no two days or customers are ever the same!
Who are your favourite designers or design brands?
Right now we’re really into the geometrics. We love The Pattern Guild’s unique geometric fabrics. Not to
mention (obviously) Alfred & Wilde - the idea behind the platonic solids mugs is amazing and they look
Jewellery making at Turpentine
What is your favourite item that you stock? Or the bestseller?
I have to pick just one?! It changes all the time, currently I’d say it was Cha Com Letras’ Dinosaur print. The colours and faux-naïve style have been brightening up my day.
What do you like about running/managing your own business?
All of it! Getting to work in such a creative environment with your best friends is a pretty good perk.
A jewellery workshop in action
What do you like most about the area where your shop is?
Brixton is an amazing place filled with such a mix of people and cultures. It has a great creative scene which we are very privileged to have become part of. Not to mention I have never been to a friendlier place in London (yes we are a little biased!).
A selection of products from the Turpentine website
Where/how do you find new designers to stock in your shop?
We met a lot of our artists when we did our pop-up markets and since we’ve opened we go to as many
different craft markets around London as we can. We also very lucky that lots of artist now find us.
What advice would you give to artists or designer-makers who want to get stocked in your shop?
We’re always on the lookout for new designers to showcase, but we do get a lot of submissions. The best way to get in touch is by email. To get our attention do a little research before you start, and don’t send us an impersonal or group email. Stand out and really show off your products with good photos and clear pricing.
433 Coldharbour Lane,